tv [untitled] March 6, 2012 5:00pm-5:30pm EST
secure and in peace with its neighbors. that is not a lobbying for a benefit. it's not lobbying -- it's lobbying for a principle. it's lobbying for your future. it's lobbying for your heritage. tell the story with compassion and with sincerity, and understand that there should be and there will not be -- if you do a good job, a scintilla of light between republicans and democratsle. we'll be united and locked in arms for the state of israel. god bless you, and thank you very much. >> we'll have live super tuesday presidential primary and caucus results tonight on the c-span networks. >> they are not command rer in chief. mitt romney is hoping to continue the winning streak in super tuesday. the republican front-runner was focused on the president today
telling the apes conference he would be more effective in containing iran's nuclear ambitions. the israeli prime minister on capitol hill meeting with congressional leaders. we have more later in the program. aat the news conference today, the president announcing new mortgage relief for members of the military as well as veterans and for other homeowners with government ensured loans. encourage them to he refinance in order to save money. stocks closing sharply lower today with the dow posting its first triple-digit decline in 2012. according to cnbc, fueled in part by fears over a great default. also, renewed economic growth concerns. the dow industrial average drops just over 200 points or about 1 .5%. the president in his news conference met with reporters for 45 minutes. among the issues, israel and
nuclear weapons and nuclear technology in iran. here's part of that exchange. >> when i came into office, iran was unified, on the move, had made substantial progress on it's nuclear progress. what we've done over the last few years is mobilized unprecedented crippling sanctions on iran. iran is feeling the bite of the sanctions in a substantial way. the world is unified. iran is politically isolated, and what i have said is that we will not countenance iran getting a nuclear weapon. my policy is not containment. my policy is to prevent them from getting a nuclear weapon, because if they get a nuclear weapon that could trigger a arms race in the region and undermine our nonproliferation goals and fall in the hands of terrorists.
we've been in close consultations with all our allies including israel in moving this strategy forward. at this stage it is my belief that we have a window of opportunity where this can still be resolved diplomatically. that's not just my view but the view of the top intelligence officials and the view of top israeli intelligence officials. and as a consequence we are going to continue to apply the pressure, even as we provide a door for the iranian nation by giving assurances to the international community they're meeting their obligations and they're not pursuing a nuclear weapon. that's my track record. now, what's said on the campaign tra trail, you know, those folks don't have a lot of responsibilities. they're not commander in chief. and when i see the casualness
with which some of these folks talk about war, i'm reminded of the costs involved in war. i'm reminded of the decision that i have to make in terms of sending young men and women into battles and the impacts that has on their lives, the impact on the national security, the impact it has on our economy. this is not a game. there is nothing casual about it. when i see some of these folks who have a lot of bluster and a lot of big talk, but when you actually ask them specifically what they would do, it turns out they repeat the things that we've been doing over the last three years. it indicates to me that that's more about politics than actually trying to solve a difficult problem. the one thing we have not done
is we haven't launched a war. p if some of these folks think that it's time to launch a war, they should say so and explain to the american people exactly why they would do that and what the consequences would be. everything else is just talk. >> that was a message from the president at today's news conference from the white house. the press also using the occasion to announce a new mortgage relief program. it would help homeowners with any government-insured loans. borrowers with mortgages insured by the fha, the federal housing administration could refinance with half the fee that the fha charges for veterans and service members. they will review decisions to foreclose our deny lower interest rates, as a way to help homeowners still underwater. here's more from the president at today's news conference. >> last fall we announced an
initiative that allows millions of responsible homeowners to refinance at low interest rates. today we're taking it a step further. we are cutting by more than half the refinancing fees that families pay for loans ensuinsu by the federal housing administration. that saves the typical family an extra $1,000 a year on top of savings they receive from refinancing. that would make refinancing more attractive to more families. it's like another tax cut to put more money in people's pockets. we do this on our own. we don't need congressional authorization to do it. we're taking a series of steps to help homeowners who have served our country. it's unconsciousable that members of our armed forces and families have been some of those most susceptible to losing their homes due to the actions of unscrupulous banks and morning
lenders. over the last few years that happened a lot. so as part of the landmark settlement we reached with bangs a few weeks ago, here's what we're going to do. if you're a member of the armed forces whose home was wrongfully foreclosed, you will be substantially compensated for what the bank did to you and your family. if you're a member of the armed forces with a high interest rate who was wrongfully denied the chance to lower it while you were in active service, which banks are required to do by law, the banks will refund you the money you would have saved along with a significant penalty. the settlement will make sure you aren't forced into foreclosure because you have a permanent change in station but can't sell your home because you omore than it's worth. some of the money will go into a fund that guarantees loans on favorable terms to our veterans and there's mother foreclosure
protections for every man and woman serving this country in harm's way. as i said before, no amount of money is going to be enough to make it right for a family that had their piece of the american dream wrongfully taken away from them, and no action, no matter how meaningful, will entirely heal our housing market on its own. this is not something that the government by itself could solve. but imt not one of those people who believe we should sit by and way for the housing market to hit bottom. there are real things we can do right now that will make a substantial difference in the lives of innocent, responsible homeowners. that's true housing and other numbers of areas when you ensure this recovery touches as many lives as possible. that's my top priority as long as i hold this office and i will do everything i can to make that progress. >> the president from today's news conference at the white house, and lynn sweet, who is
the washington bureau chief asking a question that impacts chicago but also the upcoming g-8 summit as we reported yesterday. it's moving from chicago to camp david, although the nato summit takes place in the windy city. here's how that exchange unfolded from today's news conference. >> the question is about the switch of the g-8 summit from chicago to camp david. the reason is umted a more intimate summit. people in chicago would like to know what did you know now when you booked your hometown of chicago and what role did security threats possibly play in the decision? >> keep in mind, lynn, we're going to show up with a whole bunch of word leaders. we have this nato summit. typically we try to attach the g-8 summit to the nato summit so that the leaders in the g-8 summit don't have to travel twice to whatever location. so last year in france, we
combined a g-8 with a nato summit. we'll do so again. i have to say this was an idea that was brought to me after the initial organizing of the nato summit. somebody pointed out that i hadn't had any of my counterparts i worked with for three years up to camp david. g-8 tends to be a morm informal setting in which we talk about a wide range of issues in a pretty intimate way. the thinking was that people enjoy being in a more casual backdr backdrop. i think, you know, the weather should be good that time of year. it will give me a chance to spend time with putin, the new russian president. from there we will then fly to
chicago. i always have confidence in chicago being able to handle security issues. whether it's taste of chicago or lapalooza or bulls championships, we know how to deal with a crowd. i'm sure that your new mayor will be quite attentive to detail in making sure that everything goes off well. >> from today's news conference with the president. joining us live on the phone is lynn sweet, the washington bureau chief for "the sun times." thanks for being with us. >> hi, steve. >> i want to get to the larger issue of the news conference and the timing of this news conference today, super tuesday. why today? >> i think he wanted to have a chance to push his way into some of the political headlines. this is the first press conference of the year, so it's
not like that -- he speaks every day. when he started the press conference, he made note it's super tuesday. >> let me go to one exchange, he was asked about gas prices. this is the exchange with fox new channel's ed henry. i want to play that. >> your drikts will say on capitol hill that you want gas prices to go higher because you have said before that will wean the american people off fossil fuels onto renewable fuels. how do you respond to that? >> ed, do you think the president of the united states going into re-election wants the gas prices to go up higher? does anybody here think that makes a lot of sense? look, here's the bottom line with respect to gas prices. i want gas prices lower because they hurt families. >> lynn sweet, your response to that exchange. >> it seemed he relished the moment of addressing his rivals, as if he somehow didn't see
himself the political plus of lowering gas prices. i thought that was a moment that he seemed to enjoy, because he -- when he preceded that with does anybody else out there think politically he wanted lower gas prices. he seemed to be a -- it was a very interesting way that he answered, because he seemed to say, do you think i want to shoot myself in the foot? no, i don't. >> let me go to your question in which you asked about the g-8 summit that did surprise many people when the white house announced it was not going to take place in chicago but rather at camp david. what is the story behind the story, and how is this being reported in chicago? >> well, the story that a lot of people outside of chicago may not realize is this the twin summit that received very unfavorably in chicago. rahm emanuel, the former chief of staff, basically lobbied the white house to bring these twin
events to chicago. there was no buy-in from any constituency group other than the people who were involved in the tourism industry hoping that this would be a boom, and it would. it is an international showcase for this city, but the concern immediately turned to the thousands of protesters expected in the city, the security costs and the closures of the business in the loop and surrounds areas to accommodate the summit. the g-8 economic summit, steve, is usually the one that draws most of the protesters. so we don't know yet what this will mean in terms of outsiders coming, some of the protest groups have said they're coming anyway. >> it's interesting, too, that the president is not one to often go to camp david, unlike president george h.w. bush and president clinton were frequent visitors. in part because of malia and
sasha's schedules they rarely go to camp david. >> it was interesting. when i asked for the reasoning why the switch, what did he know now he didn't know when he made plans, he cited as everyone heard to the clip and someone said weshgd use camp david as a way to deal with other leaders. it's a better setting. so he seemed to -- the way he said it was, gee, the light bulb just went off. one could point out this was always available to him, and this is the first time that he has foreign leaders at camp david. >> what was the overall tone you took away from today's news conference? >> overall, i think that he had a message to his rivals, and that is, you don't know what you're talking about because you don't actually have to push a button or send someone to war. that was probably the strongest message he had where his rivals
today at the american israel political action conference talked about how much better they could do or they would cripple iran. obama put it very well when he talked about when he said i know what it means when you send people off to war. i thought it was a very effective segment of the president conference. >> let us me segue to the other part of the president's comme s comments. we know what taste of chicago is. what is lalapalooza in chicago? >> it's a big musical festival along the lakefront. >> lynn sweet, thank you for being with us. >> thank you. >> it's a quarter past the hour. this is washington today. the top u.s. commander in the middle east telling senatoring today that the advanced air defense weapons in russia has provided some assistance to syria's regime and would make difficult to establish no-fly zones as parts of an effort to
help the rebellion. that was the comment from marine general john mattis. he declined to detail any military options they had. yesterday, senator john mccain calling for air strikes in syria to help the people in that kunlt. here here's more from that exchange. count. here's more from that exchanr.. here's more from that exchany.. here's more from that exchange. >> i think we would agree that syria out of the hands of assad would be one of the greatest blows to iran as far as lebanon is concerned, hezbollah, iran's closest ally. it would be in america's strategic interest to see assad go. >> yes, sir, it will be the biggest strategic set back for iran in 20 years when assad falls, not if but when. he's going to go. >> and fundamentally we went to
the balkans because ethnic cleansing and genocide was taking place in bosnia and kosovo in the 1990s. do you see a difference between the kind of slaughter going on in syria now and the kind that was going on in kosovo and in bosnia, maybe a difference in scale but the same kind of actions and being taken by the government? >> certainly each situation is unique, but as far as the trend, i would not disagree with your characterization. >> under current conditions, would simply providing arms to the opposition be sufficient to help them end the violence and to form assad to leave power?
>> sir, providing arms is perhaps an option that would be a policy option. i think we'd have to do our best to determine who we're providing the arms to and follow the physician's oath of first do no harm to make certain what we're doing will reduce the scale of violence ultimately. i mean, it may go up for a short time, but i think you'd have to look at it very closely because the longer this goes on, the more potential there is for al qaeda and for basically a full-scale civil war. >> have you seen any evidence that al qaeda has any significant role in syrian opposition today? >> yes, sir, we have, in terms of the rather spectacular ied attacks. >> so every time i've seen one of these crises, the first answer is we don't know who these people are.
it could be al qaeda. i heard that in egypt, tunisia and libya. we don't know who these people are, and they're probably al qaeda. you know what that flies in the face of, general? people who yearn for liberty and not being under the rule of an oppressive, brutal dictatorship. all of a sudden we will again assume, it's al qaeda. well, i've just returned from a trip to egypt, tunisia and libya, there's altz the threat of extremisextremism. it's no doubt the people that made the revolution were not al qaeda. frankly one grows a little wary of this we don't know who they are, and they're probably al qaeda. admiral, do you think we can find out who they are? >> sir, it's prudent to find out who your allies are and who your enemy is. >> is it prudent to stand on the side of freedom and democracy against one of the most
oppressive dictators in the world? is it? >> no, sir. >> is that prudent? >> no, sir. >> isn't that the united states has been standing for for a couple of hundred years at least? isn't that why we fought wars? frankly, i grow irritated and i grow angry when i see and meet these people who have sacrificed their very lives and family and are wounded and i visit a hospital in benghazi where a ship load of wounded men have returned, and i didn't see a sing one that was al qaeda, not a single one. i didn't see a single one that died before my eyes that was al qaeda. so i suggest we find out who these people are, and i guarantee you that you will find out that it's not al qaeda. it's not al qaeda. it's people who have the same yearnings that are universal. that's freedom, democracy, and our god-given rights.
so i would hope we would spend some time with your unique capabilities in findsing out who these people are and i'm surprised they haven't tried to do athat before. you should do that. this conflict will go on and a whole lot of people are going to die p if we allow the status quo to prevail and the slaughter to continue because, quote, we don't know who they are. >> before today's senate arms services committee and the testimony of marine general jam mattis, he's the head of central command getting questions from senator mccain who is as you heard growing angry over the argument that the u.s. and others want to figure out who the syrian opposition is before providing greater aid to them. a lot of people will die before that happens. you heard his quote a moment ago. meanwhile, from the u.n. in new york the security council and morocco meeting behind closed doors today urging an end
to a krcrackdown on demonstrations. the debate continues among the security council members. according to reuters it remains unclear whether the u.s. draft resolution which follows two condemnations of damascus that china and russia vetoed has any chance of success which has been deadlocked over serious military obligations over protesters for almost a year. this is "washington today" on c-span radio. he make as plea for an fbi agent that went missing five years ago. they're announcing a $1 million reward. the reward coupled with a new publicity campaign across southwest asia represents what the fbi is viewing the latest high profile effort to determine robert levinson's whereaboutses, the private investigators who spent two decades with the fbi
disappeared from the iranian island of kes the five-year anniversary and the formal announcement is from james mcjunken. >> this week commemorates the five-year anniversary of robert levinson's disappearance. he served as a special agent out of the los angeles, new york and miami field offices. bob's service to this country involveded six years with the drug enforcement administration. he was working as a private investigators on march 8, 2007, bob has not seen or heard from since his disappearance that following day. the fbi has been steadfast in investigating every lead since bob's disappearance, and wee committed to bring bob home to his family safely. today the fbi announces a reward
of $ $1 million. i hope this reward encouraging anyone with nervous, no matter how insignificant they may think it is, to come forward and share this information with us. it may be the clue that we need to locate bob. in november of 2010, a video was received from the group holding bob that shows him in captivity. while we believe bob is alive, we are concerned about his health. we need to bring him. the levinson family released a plea asking them to communicate with the family and release him from captivity. these may be viewed on the family website at ww www.helpboblevinson.com. a year ago the u.s. government received indications he was being held captive by a grew in southwest asia. this includes the border regions
of afghanistan, iran and pakistan. a publicity campaign is being launch this had week in southwest asia to heighten awareness of the abduction announce the $1 million award and solicit information. billboards, radio messages and hand bills are utilized to publicize the reward and investigation. a controversial tip line is provided for listeners and viewers for information. the fbi will continue to follow every lead into bob's disappearance. we have pictures from the video along with the composite sketch. on the fbi website at www.fbi.gov/levinson. bob will turn 64 this coming saturday, march 10th. his family has been without him for five years, and they want him back now.
i encourage anyone with information regarding robert levinson or her captors to conduct the fbi. information is confidential and can be shared anonymously. >> from the washington field office of the fbi, the comments of james mcjunken. he's the assistant director in charge. in attendance was robert mullen. by the way, some background. mr. levinson's family said that bob was there to investigate a cigarette smuggling for a corporate client. he spent one night in a hotel and met a fugitive, a man wanted for the delaying of the iranian diplomat in the 1980s. bob checked out of the hotel and vanished. he's been missing for the last five years. you heard the $1 million reward for information leading to the return of bob levinson. this is washington today as we begin to have the returns later
tonight from super tuesday primary results live on c-span television and streamed on the web at krspan dot korg. >> the dow fell 203 closing at 12750. the nasdaq was down 40 and s&p was down 20. congress today acting to overturn a court ruling and confirm the commerce department's authority to impose tariffs aimed at countering trade practices of china and other countries the u.s. considers unfair. the senate passed this bill yesterday by a voice vote, and the house today passed it overwhelmingly by a recorded vote. it clarifies the government has the right under wto rules to take action against countries such as china and vietnam that adopt fully market economies and sub sid dies some exports. an earlier court ruling said it did not have the authority to levy faxes because congress
didn't give the authority to the commerce department. the lawsuit was filed today in u.s. district court in washington and accuses the military to have a high tal rans for sexual predators this their ranks and fostering a hostile environment to discouraging victims to come forward and punishing them when they do. it names at defendants past and present military leaders, including defense secretary leon panetta and his predecessors. fda officials have issued an warning to arrow shot. they have questions about the safety and concerns about how children and adolescents may use it. it went on the market in massachusetts and new york and also available in parts of europe. consumers put one end in